Monday, December 17, 2012

The Audacity

Retelling this story, the idea of what this guy was thinking gets more and more ridiculous.

Several years ago, I was dating this guy I wasn't totally sure about. My current practice is a harsh but necessary process in which I immediately get rid of a guy the moment I discover we aren't going to work. (That is another story, but I highly recommend this tactic - it has worked great for me and ensures that not a further moment of either person's time is wasted.)

Back to the original story now. Let's call this guy "Herbert" for the present. I met Herbert at church. He asked me if I was seeing anyone (I wasn't) and we made a date from there. The ensuing few dates went fine, but I wasn't the mature young woman that I am now. I had many doubts but kept going along with the guy for a few weeks. Most of the moments in our time together would be too boring to recount, so I'm going to jump ahead.

It's about five weeks in since we met. Herbert and I are having one of our usual nighttime phone conversations. He ends up working in the following words over the phone:

"So what do you think about marrying me someday? Do you think that's something that could work?"

Now, I'd hate to give away my age here. So just imagine yourself as you once were, your most naive self, one who just started entertaining the idea of going on dates. That was me. I'd only really had one relationship at this point, and it was hardly serious. In my head, to answer Herbert's question, I was saying, "WTH?! What are you talking about? Me? Marriage? Ummmmmm..."

Unfortunately I don't recall what I told him; I do know that brushed him off, with the idea that I hadn't ever even entertained the idea of marrying someone and it was far too ridiculous to even think about thinking about it. I didn't outright reject him; rather, I changed the subject in a way that didn't put the possibility of marrying me completely out of his mind.

And we're fast-forwarding again. It's a holiday weekend and my female friend Britney and I are the some of the few people left in town. Herbert happens to be in town, with his family visiting. So between Herbert and I we round up a group to spend a night out together. We hit up a pub, play some pool, walk around in the cold a bit, I put together that he's in such a rush to get married because his several-years-younger brother is engaged...and that's that. I don't think much more of it.

Herbert is sitting on my bed one day. He pats a space close next to him and asks me to sit down. He takes my hand gently. He says, "M, I really like you. Much, much more than I should or ever thought I would. You're beautiful, you're sweet, you're smart, [blah blah blah]... I do have something I have to tell you, though."

He continues, "I've been thinking a lot. You know I overthink and analyze everything. I've lost sleep over this, and I've given it a lot of thought: You know your friend Britney, right?"

I nod yes.

"Well, like I said, M, I like you too much, I think," he pauses, "but I respect you enough to let you know that I really liked Britney. She's a person with whom I could spend the rest of my life."

Meanwhile I'm thinking, why is this guy going on and on to me about Britney?

He presents the catch: "M, I think I have to ask her what she thinks about starting a relationship with me. I can't in good faith continue to see you when I might be passing up this opportunity."

I asked him where that would leave us. So, what, are we done here? He says, "No no no, I just don't want you to think of this for now. We'll just go on as if nothing has changed. I'll talk to Britney this week and we can go from there."

Like I said originally, I wasn't sold on him. I didn't mention this before, but he's not much of a looker. He's a kind that looks fine at first, and you remember his face in a good light, but the more and more you see him the more feminine he looks; also, too skinny, too hairy, a little pale, and a butt chin to boot.

The more I "analyzed" it, the more I realized that mentally I was done with him, and pretty much unscathed.

We talked little the week leading up to this meeting. The "date" was set - his one-on-one serious talk with Britney would be right after his and my classes were done for the week. Britney had no clue what to expect.

While I knew they'd be meeting, I busied myself in my apartment - cruising the internet, making yummy snacks, doing nothing productive in particular, chitchatting on the phone with one of my loveliest friends...

And I hear a knock on the door.

I lower my phone chat to above a whisper. I'm not expecting anyone. The knocking persists.

"M! M!"

It's a guy's voice. I look through the peephole. It's good ole Herbert, impeccably (not) dressed in an oversized and very, very purple T-shirt. Hmmm. Hmmmmmmm. Am I supposed to drool now? And how did he get in?! You had to get past security to enter the apartment.

I decide to hang up with lovely face and open the door, frankly because I'm quite curious to hear just what butt-chin-face has to say now.

Well, what he had to say was this:

"HEY!" (imagine a little overenthusiasm here) "Want to watch a basketball game?"

Nevermind the fact that he knows watching sports, for me, is the absolute last thing on my Fun Things To Do list. I pause. "Um, what about Britney?" He's not quite making an offer I'd want to take him up on.

"Let's just forget about her. Come on, let's go watch the game!"

I stop his momentum. "Wait. Hold. Up. Now. What did Britney have to say to you?"

With an attempt at a breezy tone, he says almost boastfully, "Oh, she says she doesn't want a relationship right now. She's graduating and moving out of state in a couple months, so she's not interested right now - she said if the timing was better she would have thought about it."

I counter, "Oh, well that's nice. So what are you hoping for from me? That I'll just skip along with you, and we'll go on our merry way, and just forget all of this happened?"

"I have news for you, brother. I wasn't here sitting, waiting around for you. I am busy. I made plans. I expected you'd be with Britney around this time, so sorry. Talk to you later."

He was surprised to hear this. He hadn't thought of the consequences - that in going to pursue this new lady, he'd lose the one he was trying to have to begin with. He'd thought he'd have a prize either way.

Um, nope.

He left with his head hanging and Britney gave me a ring only a few minutes later.

"M, what was that all about?! I thought he was coming to me to talk about you... I'm just mad that he had the nerve to go behind your back like that, and do that to you, and that he thought I would be such a poor friend to go behind your back and date the guy you've been dating. I definitely told him I wasn't into the idea, partially because I am moving. But even so, I was totally not interested or into him at all."

I just laughed. It made my day. I told her I was never sure about him either but that he'd been talking marriage with me just a week or two prior. After dating for less than a month and a half.

We laughed about how he thought he was even attractive enough to pull this scheme off. He wasn't.

He kept calling me, and of all things, to beg me to go to the zoo with him and his roommate. Just to be a bitch, I told him I despised zoos - that they smell bad and are cruel to animals - and so no way in hell did I want to go to the zoo. He then resorted to further groveling. I kid you not, this came out of his mouth: "Just tell me I have some value! I need to know that I was at least valued in this relationship! And respected! Tell me I have some value!"

I told him I wouldn't do it. I told him he'd have to bargain with God to assure him of any type of value. The fact was, I didn't, and don't, respect him anymore.

He literally cried over the phone at this point. I am stone cold serious.

Oh, boys. What are they ever thinking?


  1. I'm confused, when Herbert suggested you set him up with Britney, while you were still dating him, you went along with it? Why, because you knew you weren't into him? Or had you not been exclusive?

  2. He set himself up with her. I don't remember how he contacted her to ask about meeting up, but I didn't do any of the work. There was a short time span between the talk with me and the talk with her, so I didn't talk to him/continue dating him between. While he wasn't my official boyfriend, we didn't break up either. We'd only known each other 6 or 7 weeks. It was a kind of "Go and do whatever you need to do" type of thing.

    This was 4 years ago, though, so I didn't date hardly at all before this. I was also not good at breaking up with people so I'd do the "how to lose a guy in 10 days" types of things to get him to break up with me. I know better now ;)